What about more RPCV women CDs?

We know that women today make up more than 64% of all Peace Corps Volunteers. Let me ask: how many Country Directors are women?

When I was an APCD in Ethiopia we had one, maybe two, women on a staff of 10-12. Today, the number of female staffers is higher, but is it high enough? 

With such an increase of female Volunteers, shouldn’t the Peace Corps have the same increase in women CDs? Could it be that if we had more female CD’s there might be fewer complaints that the sexual assaults aren’t being properly investigated by the staff?

A friend of mine who is in law enforcement says that as a “general rule” male do not take ‘assault charges’ that seriousely. The Peace Corps must. One way to show we are serious about this issue is to hire more RPCV women as Country Directors. It would, at this moment in the agency’s history, I think, do the Peace Corps a lot of good.

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  • Excellent…but it is just the start, the beginning! With 64% of the Volunteers being Women…our target should be 64% of the Woman as CD’s, PTO’s, and APCD’s…nothing else makes any sense! And while we are at it…training for upper management twice a year and mandatory, with performance measured by their respionse to charges and in getting the Peace Corps policy understood by all employees, Volunteers, Trainees, and contractors at all posts. It can work!

  • Women should be chosen as CD Directors based on their qualifications, not their gender. Peace Corps is subject to all the rules of the Equal Employment Opportunity provisions and to choose women because they would be more “sensitive” to sexual harassment is not compatible, I believe, with the intent of civil service law. The Director in Benin who betrayed the confidence of Katy Puzey was female. The Director in charge in Tonga when Deborah Gardner was murdered was female.

    We need legislation mandating how the Peace Corps administration, will respond to sexual harassment, sexual assault, or any personal threats involving serving Volunteers, regardless of who is currently in charge of the agency.

  • The Peace Corps used an approach in the early 80’s of appointing RPCVs as Co-directors of the Peace Corps… many married couples were appointed by Jimmy Carter as an intentional policy. As RPCVs from Ecuador 1962-64, my husband, Earle, and I were the Co-directors in Chile from 1980-82…and there were quite few in those years. We thought it was a great policy, as we each had a 50% time job and were paid one full time salary.. .tho we did spend more than 50% of our time each on the job!! PC got a good deal in hiring two for the price of one. It gave us a chance to be with the PCVs in the field as well as covering the office tasks…I think we were able to adequately handle the issues of female and male volunteers quite well…as a couple. ..I wonder if this is a model that would be valuable to explore again. Please weigh in on this idea! Rhoda Brooks

  • What a really interesting model. There is so much to learn about the different types of organization Peace Corps has used. Real job sharing!

    I have so many questions. Such as:
    Do you remember how you were selected for the position? How many Volunteers were in Chile during your time as Co-Directors? What kinds of problems did you all encounter. I presume you all served first when Richard Celeste was Peace Corps Director and then Loret Miller Ruppe. If so, what was that transition like?

    Have you and your husband written about your experiences? If not, would you consider it. This is really historic.

  • The best method for selecting Country Directors, and all overseas staff for that matter, is at best a work in progress. It reminds me very much of the question that is now be-deviling the education world: what makes for a good teacher? Almost all educators agree that the quality of the teacher is the most important factor in determining student achievement. It is not the per pupil expenditure, class size, the availability the newest facilities or curricula, it is the quality of the teacher.

    The problem is that no one can get a fix on what is it that makes for a good teacher. It is not class-standing in college, it is not number of years teaching, it is not degrees earned, it is not gender, nor being married nor being a parent, not birth order, not the economic status of parents. What? What factors should a principal use when filling vacancies? Researchers reluctantly admit: “No one knows for sure.”

    The Peace Corps has had fine directors; men, women, couples, minorities, old and some not so old, liberals and conservatives, and those with a variety of sexual preferences. Unfortunately, based on my experience, but, I am guessing here, that there were poor directors with all those same characteristics.

    So how does the Peace Corps make overseas staff selections. Does anyone know?

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